Students find solace in body modifications 

Chloe Fitzgibbon, Co-Editor-In-Chief

At 18 years old, teenagers are handed the opportunity to decorate their body how they choose with newly relinquished parent-permission restraints. For some with strict parents, getting a tattoo or piercing at 18 can be a liberating experience to finally be able to express themselves freely. And for others, their parents already took them before turning 18 to get all the piercings and tattoos they desire. Then, there are also a small margin of those who have done their own tattoos and piercings–  usually without parents’ knowledge– through at-home methods such as piercing and tattoo guns, or doing a “stick and poke” tattoo. 

According to a survey done of 60 LSE students, 50 percent of respondents have some type of piercing, 26.7 percent have a tattoo and 18.3 percent have both. 

The survey shows that the majority of students with tattoos/piercings were taken by parents to get them done. However, some hid it for months before telling them, and some still haven’t. 

Many survey respondents say they got their tattoos or piercings because it improves their self confidence (44 percent), it’s a way to express themselves (56 percent) and just because “it looks cool” (64 percent).

Many students– especially females– have some form of piercing, mainly ears and nose. For most students with only piercings and no tattoos, they view it as a form of accessorizing oneself and defying strict parents. This also tended to be the case for students with tattoos, but they were also more likely to have a meaning to them. 


Here are a few LSE students who have gotten tattoos or piercings and what they mean to them. 


Senior Salora Huff has a septum piercing, a bouquet of violets tattooed on their thigh and blue butterflies on their rib cage. 

Huff got their first tattoo with their mom, and their second with a friend. 

“My septum was spontaneous, because I wasn’t really planning on getting it– I was just in Vegas and wanted to do something fun,” they said. 

Huff chose violets due to them being their birth flower, and the butterflies because of their hopeful and transformative symbolism and they made them blue because it’s a color they really like. 

Huff does not believe that tattoos need to have a deeper meaning. 

“It’s just how you customize your body,” they said. 

 Huff loves their tattoos and piercings, and cannot see themselves without them ever again. 

“I don’t regret any of my tattoos or piercings, and I don’t think I ever will,” they said.

“I think I’m more confident with them because I get to show art that represents me.” 


Sophomore Alora Mack has a belly button piercing and “a lot of tattoos.” 

She has a monster tattoo on her thigh, an anarchy symbol– sign of “independence” to Mack– on her knee, a frog playing cards on her ankle, a mushroom tattoo, a face on her wrist, a cross and a smiley face on her finger, and a heart on her pinky. 

She says her sister owns a tattoo gun and has done most of Mack’s tattoos.

“She’s really good at art. I trust her,” she said. 

Out of her many tattoos, the one she regrets the most is the cross. 

“I was like, emo last year, and I thought ‘wow that would be cool’ and I didn’t think about it because this year. I’m kind of a religious gal,” she said. 

Due to her newfound beliefs, she feels as though that tattoo would represent her in a way she does not want to be portrayed. 

“I go to church and have to cover it up,” Mack said. 

Her favorite tattoo is the frog playing cards because she likes frogs, but Mack says others have shown more interest in the mushroom.

“A lot of people like the mushroom but I also didn’t think about how it connects with drugs, and I was just thinking ‘Ooh nature’. Oops,” Mack said. 

Mack thinks that one should consider how certain tattoos might be perceived before spontaneously putting permanent art on one’s body. 

“You should think about the meaning that they could have,” she said. “But if you like it, I say you should get it; they don’t always have to have a meaning.” 

Mack feels both embarrassment and pride in her tattoos, depending on who she’s around. She says that since she hangs out with many diverse groups of people, there are some friends she feels confident to show them around, and some friends she feels like would look at her differently. 

“I feel like a baddie, but it’s also like ‘don’t look at those’,” Mack said. “Like every time someone asks ‘is that a real tattoo?’ ‘No.’”


Junior Kai Mays has five tattoos: Three under her bra line– her zodiac sign, a smiley face, and her lucky number– and two hearts on her behind. 

Mays says that her parents did not previously know about her tattoos, and do not support them due to her age. 

“I hid it from them for six months so I wouldn’t get grounded because that’s our rule,” she said. 

Mays did all of her tattoos at home, some stick and pokes and some with a tattoo gun. She says she believes in tattoos with significance. 

“That’s just something that my father taught me, and he also said he’d make fun of me if I were to ever get a tattoo that doesn’t have meaning,” she said.

Though she regrets the hearts, her other three carry stories of her life. 

First, her zodiac sign is unique because Mays was born on something called a “cusp”. 

“I’m a Gemini and a cancer because one ends when one starts,” she said. “But I have my Gemini sign… because Cancer looks like 69.” 

Mays’s smiley face tattoo began as a spontaneous decision with her friend to get matching smiley face tattoos, but soon held much greater significance when that friend passed away. 

Additionally, Mays has found a way to turn a tragic occurrence into a positive association by making it her lucky number. 

“I was the third kid to be born, and I was the only one alive,” she said. 

Though sometimes sad, she sees this form of expression as a look into her life and experiences. 

“I feel like I’m telling a story,” Mays said. 

Mays is planning to get many more tattoos and a septum piercing in the future.